a different perspective Past Review

By (Economics., Western University) - abroad from 01/07/2013 to 04/25/2013 with

ISA Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes it was worthwhile. I gained a new perspective on how people live in different parts of the world and how different countries view Americans.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

It was absolutely horrible. I could not have been placed in a worse home. ISA placed me 50 minutes by metro from the city center and the school. There were many grueling transfers and it limited what my roommate and I could do. The lady lied on her profile and said she lived alone when really she had two other people living with her along with a rancid parrot that squawked all the time. It was always noisy and the old man living there made us very uncomfortable. They were very insulting and unwelcoming and would always talk badly about us in Spanish. When ever we tried to speak with them to improve our Spanish they were harsh and judgemental and refused to help us. The lady did not wash our laundry separately like she was supposed to but instead shoved it all in one load and used NO soap so our clothes came our more dirty than before. She never offered to tell us or show us anything cool about the city or about Spanish culture. Over 50 percent of what she fed us was plain stale bread, iceburg lettuce, and mushy fruit. The rest was very very greesy vegetables, extreemly salty soup, and pre-maid frozen meals and expired meat. Her food gave us food poisoning on multiple occasions. She was a very mean greedy bitter old woman and no student should ever have to stay in that homestay again. It greatly detrimented my entire experience. It left me angry, sad, confused, dissapointed,exhausted and unsatisfied.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I liked it but I did not really like the siesta and the customer service was horrible.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Barcelona is pretty safe, however everyone wants to pick pocket you so always watch your back. The second you let your guard down is when you get robbed. You can't trust anyone, especially in the metros.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Europe is expensive in general and since our assigned host mother did not give us nutritional food, we had to spend a lot of money purchasing additional food and eating out to get essential nutrients such as protein and vegetables. We also had to pay a lot of money for transportation since we were so far from the city center

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? many hundreds
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? don;t eat at any of the tourist restaurants and buy groceries a lot


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 2 years in high school
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? talk to local people

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • excursions
  • printing/computer services
  • nice staff
* What could be improved?
  • housing assignments, the only reason I said i would choose the program again is because I knew other students who had good homestay experiences,I still hold ISA responsible for putting my roommate and I in to such horrible conditions, however, the rest of the program was satisfactory.
  • organization of staff and meetings
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Spanish people are not opening and welcome like in Latina culture. They tend to be more closed and reserved.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'